Celtics Rumors: Spurs Center Keeps Coming Up In Trade Speculation

Impending free-agent center Jakob Poeltl has been mentioned


Nov 16, 2022

The Boston Celtics have got off to a red-hot start to the 2022-23 NBA campaign, despite the fact they have not been as dominant on the defensive end.

A major reason behind the Celtics currently possessing a mediocre 19th-best defensive rating — they concluded the 2021-22 regular season No. 1 — is due to the extended absence of Robert Williams. Williams has yet to play this season after the Celtics announced on Sept. 23 he would miss 8-to-12 weeks because of an arthroscopic procedure in his left knee. The timeline, which according to The Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach remains “right on schedule,” would indicate a best-case scenario for Williams to return to basketball activities in late November.

ESPN’s Brian Windhorst on Wednesday questioned whether Williams’ impending recovery and Boston’s defensive deficiencies could cause the Celtics to make a trade to bolster their frontcourt depth.

“The question is: Does this team need to go out and try to get another big man who can defend?” Windhorst said on the “Brian Windhorst & The Hoop Collective” podcast. “The name that has come up, that people have speculated, has been Jakob Poeltl from the Spurs. They did a deal with the Spurs last year, obviously, for Derrick White.”

Poeltl, the No. 9 overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, is an impending free agent after playing the last five seasons in San Antonio. The 27-year-old center is averaging 13.4 points, 10.1 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.2 blocks in 28.8 minutes over 15 games this season.

Windhorst previously shared that he thought Poeltl could be a trade candidate given his contract situation.

“Now, the Spurs may want to keep Jakob Poeltl. I’m not saying they’re going to put him out there,” Windhorst said on the podcast. “But the Spurs were unable to extend Poeltl. They tried to extend him before the season and so he will become an unrestricted free agent. They have the lowest payroll in the league, San Antonio can certainly afford to pay him, maybe that’s what they’re going to do at the end of the season.”

Thus far, the Celtics have tried to make up for Williams’ absence with Al Horford, Luke Kornet, Noah Vonleh and Blake Griffin. And while it hasn’t impacted them negatively on the offensive end — the Celtics have the league’s best offensive rating — it’s hindered their versatility on the defensive end. Further bolstering the group, especially given that Boston likely will be careful with Williams once he does return, might be a move worth making.

The 11-3 Celtics will look to continue their impressive start Wednesday as they travel to face the Atlanta Hawks for a 7:30 p.m. ET tipoff.

Thumbnail photo via John Geliebter/USA TODAY Sports Images
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